The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has condemned the Nigeria Police for extortion, brutality and extortion of citizens.
CACOL in a statement on Wednesday signed by its Chairman, Debo Adeniran, said the intimidation of ordinary Nigerians who were daily whisked away or stripped for being suspected of fraud or armed banditry even when nothing incriminating was found on them to warrant such profiling had become too rampant.
The group lamented that the Nigerian society never bothered to re-orientate or refocus its Police force to make it more responsible, patriotic and civil-compliant after independence.
CACOL recalled that the Chief Justice of Nigeria; Justice Walter Onoghen recently raised alarm over a surge in cases of Nigerian Police brutality, unwarranted arrests and illegal detention throughout the country.
The statement added: “As laudable as the directive of the Chief Justice is, the truth is that more measures would be required to actually give Nigeria a Police outfit the country really deserves. One step that needs to be taken in this direction is the overhauling of the recruitment process for the Police outfit which we believe should be reviewed such that potential recruits into the force should possess a minimum qualification of an Ordinary National Diploma (OND).
“An upward review of their salary structure is also required to meet up with the reality of the current socioeconomic situation in the country. A situation where members of the force are expected to pay for their own uniform, buy exercise books and biro to enter complaints, pay for fuel or ask complainant to fuel their vehicles to bring a suspect to the station, would not provide the nation with a desired Police outfit.
“It is equally important to constantly and periodically re-orientate and re-educate officers of the Police force to acquaint them with modern and suitable approaches in dealing with the civil society. It is imperative to note that even the British Police was at a time, one of the most reprehensible Police outfits in the world.
“The role of technology and a responsible political leadership cannot be over-emphasized in this regard too. This is why it is always said that, people deserves the kind of Police they have. We as a people may not achieve all this in a jiffy, but the truth is that we must take concrete steps in the right direction.
“A situation whereby many members of the public from different backgrounds have all suffered one injustice or acts of harassment and loss of loved ones because of the extreme brutality and recklessness of some police units like the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), does not engender good relationship between the security apparatus and the public. If at any point in the history of the nation there was need for a thorough reform of the Nigeria Police Force that time is now.”